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Student Impact Summit: Home

Selected students will present posters featuring their scholarship, experiential learning opportunity, and other achievements at this Summit.

Making an Academic Poster for Presentation

An academic poster is a summary of your research, scholarly, or creative project in a visually engaging way. It must be academically sound, highlighting the context of your work (through photographs, maps, etc.), your methods, and results (with graphs, charts, photographs, etc.). 

The poster should be able to stand on its own as a clear, logical presentation of your work, without any explanation from you.

To do a poster presentation, you should prepare an “elevator speech” – a one to two-minute summary of your project that you could deliver to anyone during a typical elevator ride.  Don’t wait for viewers to ask a question; say, “Would you like to hear about my research in about two minutes or less?” This frees them from having to read and figure it all out themselves. Then offer to answer questions.  If you don’t know an answer, admit it, speculate with the person, or ask what s/he thinks. Be sure to check to see if your listener understands the technical aspects of your explanation and if what you’re saying makes sense.


Poster Content

Posters typically include many of the sections listed below (starred items are required).

  • Title
  • Collaborators (including you) and their institutional affiliations
  • Abstract
  • Background/literature review
  • Research question/s
  • Materials, approach, process, or methods
  • Results/conclusion (in humanities: main argument, insight, and significance of work)
  • Future directions, especially if this is a work in progress
  • Acknowledgements

Poster Tips & Design

  • Posters must be no larger than 36” x 48”
  • Use large text (your text should be at least 18-24 pt; headings 30-60 pt; title >72pt.)
  • Do not use more than 2-3 font styles total
  • Use fonts that are easy to read (such as Times New Roman, Garamond, and Arial)
  • Avoid jagged edges: left-justify text within text boxes or fully justify blocks of text
  • Avoid too much text (no more than 800 words max) and undefined technical jargon (depending upon your potential audience)
  • Choose colors carefully and pay attention to contrast.  If in doubt, dark print on light background is best. Remember – some colorblind people cannot distinguish between red and green.
  • Organize and align your content with columns, sections, headings, and blocks of text
  • White space is important to increase visual appeal and readability (this is the “empty” space between sections, columns, headings, blocks of text, and graphics).
  • Selectively incorporate charts, graphs, photographs, key quotations from primary sources, maps, and other graphics that support the theme of your poster.  It is best to avoid using tables of data.
  • Avoid fuzzy images; make sure all graphics are high-resolution (at least 300ppi) and easily visible
  • Edit your poster carefully for typographic or grammatical mistakes and image quality before the final print-out (use the print-preview function)

Poster Preparation Resources